McCann, Uggla lead Braves past Brewers 10-8
By PAUL NEWBERRY
ATLANTA (AP) Brian McCann liked the way he was hitting the ball. He just didn't have much to show for it.
That all changed in Atlanta's home opener.
McCann equaled a career high with four hits, including a homer and four RBIs, and Dan Uggla's broken-bat single in the eighth inning gave the Braves a wild 10-8 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.
Coming into the game batting just .158, McCann boosted his average to .292 and nearly had the first five-hit game of his career. Rickie Weeks made a diving stop in short right field to cut off a blistering grounder in the eighth, flipping to first from his knees to get the slow-running catcher.
"I've been seeing the ball well all year long," McCann said. "I didn't have much to show for it until tonight. You've just got to stay the course and nights like this will happen."
A three-run homer by McCann highlighted a six-run fifth that put the Braves up 8-3. Milwaukee rallied, tying it on Corey Hart's homer in the eighth.
Francisco Rodriguez (0-1) and the Milwaukee bullpen couldn't hold on, even with the brilliant defensive play by Weeks. Uggla shattered his bat but managed to slip a slow roller through the drawn-in infield, bringing home two runs to snap an 8-all tie.
"We haven't been in a slugfest in quite a long time," McCann said. "Tonight was that, and we came out on the winning side."
"I didn't get the job done," Rodriguez said. "That's all I can tell you. Just turn the page."
The Braves won their third straight after an 0-4 start, winning for the first time without Chipper Jones. Milwaukee has surrendered 18 runs the last two games, losing again despite a three-homer night.
Jones, who is retiring after the season, wasn't able to play in his final home opener. The left knee that needed surgery in spring training flared up again after he came off the disabled list to lead the Braves to two straight wins in Houston.
Led by McCann and Uggla, the Braves had no trouble scoring runs off Randy Wolf and the Brewers.
McCann had an RBI double in the first to give the Braves a quick lead, then led them back after Jair Jurrjens surrendered three runs to the Brewers in the second. Uggla had a run-scoring double in the third after McCann kept the inning going with his second hit of the night, and Atlanta finished off Wolf with the fifth-inning outburst.
Speedy Michael Bourn started it with a triple to the gap, Freddie Freeman walked and McCann yanked his second homer of the season just inside the right-field foul pole. Wolf didn't even turn around to look after he left the pitch hanging for McCann.
The Braves struck quickly for two more runs. Uggla singled and on the very next pitch, and Matt Diaz went deep for his first homer since 2010. He took advantage of his chance after essentially replacing Jones in the lineup, starting in left field while Martin Prado moved to third base.
Milwaukee finally yanked Wolf after Jason Heyward followed with another hit. The left-hander was pounded for nine hits in 4 1-3 innings and gave up as many baserunners (13) as he got outs.
"It was definitely the most uncomfortable I've felt in a long time," Wolf said. "I had really ridiculously bad fastball command and my off-speed stuff was horrible."
The Brewers, to their credit, bounced back from the five-run deficit. Jurrjens had another shaky start, failing to get out of the sixth. He got the hook after giving up three straight hits to start the inning, including Hart's two-run double that nearly cleared the wall. The ball struck the yellow line and ricocheted back on the field, though the umpires ducked into the dugout to make sure with help from replay.
There was no doubt about it the next time Hart came up in the seventh. After the Brewers closed to 8-7 with Ryan Braun's two-run single off Eric O'Flaherty, Hart drove one into the seats for his fourth homer of the young season. O'Flaherty gave up three runs in the inning after surrendering just eight earned runs in all of 2011, when his ERA was below 1.00.
Milwaukee scored three runs in the second after Jurrjens retired the first two batters. Mat Gamel singled and former Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez burned his old team with a two-run homer. George Kottaras went back-to-back, his third homer of the year putting the Brewers up 3-1.
Notes: Gonzalez will miss the rest of the series, returning to Florida for the birth of his third child. He will be placed in the paternity list and Eric Farris will be recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Saturday. ... The sellout crowd was 50,635. ... Former President Jimmy Carter watched the game from a seat next to the Braves dugout. ... The Braves have won four straight home openers and are 25-22 in those games since moving to Atlanta in 1966. ... Mike Minor (0-1) will get the start for Atlanta in the second game of the series Saturday night, facing Milwaukee's Shaun Marcum (1-0).
Updated April 14, 2012